Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Dried Apricot Shortbread Heart: A gift for friend


You may find I have too many shortbread recipes, I admit, many recipe and many variations. But I love this kind of cookie, it’s easy, fragrance and yes it’s delicious. I make this recipe for my friend who so kind, she sent me a large pack of vanilla bean, and that’s why I put the vanilla bean into this recipe. The original recipe is called for cranberry but any dried fruit can be use, only cut them into tiny size. I love a little tangy taste, lovely smell of the apricot, and it goes well with the vanilla. Again this recipe comes from:...................and the result is great. This book is a large collection of cookie recipes; they are in Martha Stewart's official website too, but I find reading the book is better for my eye than the screen.

Dried Apricot Shortbread Heart
Makes about 12 pieces


1 cup (2 sticks)
unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup
sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon
pure vanilla extract
2 cups
sifted all-purpose flour
bean from ½ of Vanilla pod
½ teaspoon
coarse salt
½ cup
finely chopped dried apricot


1. Preheat oven to 325°F with rack in center. Put butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, flour, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir together with a wooden spoon until combined but not too creamy (I beat with the paddle). Stir in dried apricot.


2. Press dough evenly into an 8-inch square baking pan. Bake until firm and pale golden, about
30 minutes (-you may need to cover the tin with foil after baking for 20 minutes-). Let cool on a wire rack, about 20 minutes.


3. Run a knife around edges; remove shortbread and transfer, right side up, to a work surface. Cut out hearts with a 2-inch heart- shape cookie cutter. Trim any stray bits of apricot from edges with a paring knife. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

FOCACCIA STUFFED WITH HAM AND CHEESE


Who doesn’t love the combination of ham and cheese? When they came together, even the simplest bread seen to be special, and I talk about this focaccia. The recipe is an adaptation, because I didn’t have the same ingredients, but I wanted to make it anyway. I know that many people prefer not to change the ingredients but I suggest you do it, and the baking will be fun. Only the main ingredients are the things you had to be careful (like the amount of yeast and salt, both of them will effect the rising of the bread). Bread flour can be use instead of Italian 00 flour and if you don’t have extra virgin olive oil, you still can use plain olive oil. The kinds of ham, cheese or herb are up to you, use the one that you like and you will happy with the result. What I try to say is don’t be afraid to try something new and different; you will find a new flavor plus some new favorite too.

FOCACCIA STUFFED WITH HAM AND CHEESE
SERVES 6-8


50 ml
extra virgin olive oil
500 g
Italian 00 flour (or bread flour)
7 g
Instant yeast
1 heaped teaspoon
Salt (about 7 g)
1 heaped teaspoon
Sugar
275-300 ml
tepid water
150 g
good quality ham
150 g
cheese, cut into small dice (I use Cheddar)
a handful of Parsley
extra virgin olive oil for brushing



1 Make the bread dough by mixing the flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Mix the oil with water and pour into the flour, adding a touch more tepid water if necessary; you should have a fairly soft dough that comes away from the sides of the bowl.


2 Tip this on to a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, until smooth.


3 Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with cling film and place somewhere fairly warm to rise for 1½ - 2 hours (or until double in size). Divide into two pieces and roll each out to fit a 23 x 33cm/9 x 13 in Swiss roll tin.

4 Place one piece of the dough in the tin, top with the ham, cheese and parsley then cover with the other piece, crimping the edges to seal. Cover and leave for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F /Gas 7.


5 Prick it all over with a fork Brush the focaccia with olive oil and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Cut into large sections and eat warm while the cheese is still gooey.

Friday, July 25, 2008

American Carrot Cake: Easy cake for everyday


My brother like carrot cake and my sisters, they love it, I think many people like carrot cake, too. In fact, I really want to try the recipe which my friend sends to me (the Yellow butter cake from ................. she said that this book is real great, and she want me to try the recipe). But, my brother told me that he want something sweet to eat and he don’t want a plain butter cake, so I suggested carrot cake (I knew he couldn’t say “No”), and the answer is “Yes”. Anyway, I had new books (a lot of new books), so this is a chance to try new books (again). I choose this recipe from ........................, this carrot cake is very easy to make too. I reduce the sugar a bit (about 40 g), and use pecan nut (you can use any kind of nut that you like, for me I like pecan nut more than walnut).

American Carrot Cake
MAKES A 2-LAYER 20 CM 8 IN CAKE


For the cake

250 ml
vegetable oil
4
room-temperature eggs, beaten
180 g
soft light brown sugar
140 g
carrots, peeled and finely
225g
self-raising flour
(or using cake flour with 1 tsp baking powder)
½ teaspoon
bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoons
ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon
ground ginger
140 g
walnuts, chopped
(or use any kind of nut, which you like)
For the icing

45g
unsalted butter, softened
170 g
good quality full-fat cream cheese
300 g
icing sugar
1 teaspoon
vanilla essence

A dash of salt

lemon juice to taste
1 Heat the oven to 180°C. Line 2 X 20cm 8 in sandwich tins with baking parchment.


2 In a bowl, stir together the oil, eggs, sugar and carrots.
3 Sift the flour (with the baking powder, if using), bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and ginger into a large bowl.
4 Fold the 2 mixtures together then fold in the walnuts.


5 Divide between the 2 tins and bake in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes or until the cakes spring back when pressed lightly in the centre.
6 Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes in the tin, then turn out and cool completely..



7 To make the icing, beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth, add the vanilla. Sift the icing sugar over the top and stir in. Add the lemon juice and salt, to taste.

8 Use the icing to fill the cake and ice the top.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars From: Martha Stewart's Cookies


Well, this is the great combination, if you love to have bread with peanut butter and jam. I have my own favorite, raspberry jam and chunky peanut butter. So, after I got this book this is the first one that I want to try. The original recipe calls for strawberry jam, but I change to raspberry jam, so it’s up to your passion. As always, I don’t want to make a big tray of cookie (accept the truth, my family has to eat all the bake good which I test them, I like to make a small batch, because I will have a chance to try more recipe). I make only half of the recipe, use 8x8 inches pan, and reduce the baking time to 45 minute.
The taste of the cookie is salty sweet, you should chop the salted peanut, (I forgot to chop them and the peanut is too big when cut the cookie into pieces).
Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
Makes about 3 dozen


1 cup (2 sticks)
unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
3 cups
all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1½ cups
Sugar
2
large eggs
2½ cups
smooth peanut butter
1½ teaspoons
Salt
1 teaspoon
baking powder
1 teaspoon
pure vanilla extract
1½ cups
strawberry jam, or other flavor (I use raspberry)
1 cup
salted peanuts(5 ounces), roughly chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper. Butter the parchment, dust with flour, and tap out excess.



2. Place butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla.


Add eggs and peanut butter; beat until combined, about 2 minutes. Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder. Add to the butter mixture, and beat on low speed until combined.


3. Transfer two-thirds of mixture to prepared pan; spread evenly with an offset spatula. Using off set spatula, spread jam on top of peanut-butter mixture. Crumble remaining third of peanut butter mixture on top of jam. Sprinkle evenly with peanuts.


4. Bake until golden, 45 to 60 minutes, rotating halfway through. Tent loosely with foil if bars are getting too dark. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Run knife around edges and refrigerate, 1 to 2 hours. Cut into about thirty-six bars (about 1½ by 2 inches). Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Raspberry Ice Cream Bombe: Easy Ice Cream for Everyone


I just came home last week, not that I got a vacation but I have to stay at the hospital from the fever. It’s boring when I couldn’t do anything, just sleeping and eating (and I believe you know the food is not tasty at all). Anyway, I got a magazine from the hospital and I really want to try it (it’s not too old, and it’s great for me to have a food magazine when lying around). This recipe is Raspberry Ice Cream Bombe, and it’s easy to make even when you just recover (like me), I strain the pit out but if you don’t mind and just blend everything together, this recipe will be super easy. But in my opinion, the pit is annoying and the ice cream is smoother. I reduce the condensed milk from the original recipe, but if you like super sweet ice cream you can use up to 400 ml.


Raspberry Ice Cream Bombe
Served 6



350 g
Raspberry*
300 ml
Condensed milk
150 ml
Whipping Cream


* If you want to remove the pit, use 500g of raspberry and strain to remove the pit before weight.


Whizz raspberry in a blender, add the condensed milk and cream and blend to combine.


Pour the mixture in to the cup and freeze overnight.


Adaptation from: Olive Magazine (Issue June 2008)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Green Tea Soufflé Roll Cake with Buttercream


Some friends asked for this kind of recipe and this is my first attempt. This is soufflé roll cake, the soft cake which I got the recipe from the Japanese bookThe method is different from other kinds of roll cake, the egg white must be cool and the first step is the same as making soufflé base. The cake is very puffy and tender (this is my first time so you can see that the cake has a little hole all around). Anyway I think this is quite easy for anyone who wants a roll cake which is soft and it’s not chiffon.
Note: The cold egg white method is very good; the meringue is thick, glossy and the bubble is smaller than making with room temperature egg white.


My green tea powder (no color added)
Green Tea Soufflé Roll Cake with Buttercream
Make one 30 cm long roll






38 g
Unsalted Butter



A
44 g
Cake flour

3 g ( ¾ tsp)
Baking powder

6 g
Green tea powder




70 g
Whole milk (cold)



B
47 g
Whole egg

70 g
Egg yolks



Meringue
150g
Egg whites (cold about 1-4°C)

75 g
Sugar





Preheat the oven to 180°C
Line 30x30 cm rimmed pan with baking paper.
Put the egg white into the refrigerator.
Sift A ingredients together, set aside.
Mix B ingredients together, set aside.

Put the butter into the pan and melt over low-heat, when the butter melt immediately add the A all at once and stir continuously with a wooden spoon (or heat resistance spatula). Mix until the mixture pulls away from the pan, forming a ball and remove from the heat.


Pour all the milk into butter and flour mixture, whisk to combine.

Put the pan over low heat, stir continuously with a wooden spoon (or heat resistance spatula), until the mixture start to pulls away from the pan, remove from the heat.


Add the B gradually, mixing the dough until it is smooth.
Pour the mixture into large bowl, set aside.


Take the egg white out of the fridge, and beat with hand mixer. Beat until soft peaks form add the sugar gradually and beat until stiff peaks form.


With a large rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the batter just until blended (being careful not to deflate the batter).
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 18-20minutes
Turn onto a lightly damped clean kitchen towel. Trim edges, if necessary; roll cake up, towel and all, while still warm. Let cool completely.
For the Buttercream
you will get more than you want for the roll)

½ cup sugar
2 large egg whites
1 ½ sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

To Make the Buttercream
Put the sugar and egg whites in a mixer bowl or another large heatproof bowl, fit the bowl over a plan of simmering water and whisk constantly, keeping the mixture over the heat, until it feels hot to the touch, about 2 minutes.
The sugar should be dissolved, and the mixture will look like shiny marshmallow cream.
Remove the bowl from the heat.
Working with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the meringue on medium speed until it is cool, about 4 minutes, add the butter a stick at a time, beating until smooth.
Once all the butter is in, beat in the buttercream on medium-high speed until it is thick and very smooth, 5-7 minutes.
During this time the buttercream may curdle or separate – just keep beating and it will come together again.
You should have a shiny smooth, velvety, pristine white buttercream. Press a piece of plastic against the surface of the buttercream and set aside briefly.



Unroll and fill with buttercream then re-roll cake.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Orange Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate mousse again, but this time the flavor is so intense, with lovely orange fragrance. This recipe doesn’t require whipping cream or any cream so it’s egg, orange and chocolate business. Anyway, even I say you don’t need cream; I have to give you a little advice, due to the little fat contain in high percentage cocoa mass chocolate bars, you may have to add 2-3tbsp warmed cream when melting chocolate or add ½ tbsp of the butter in the recipe, but if you use the chocolate with only 43% of the cocoa mass, just follow the instruction.
Because this recipe doesn’t use cream as a main ingredient, the mousse will become dense if keeping too long, but I believe you won’t wait that long to enjoy it.

Orange Chocolate Mousse
Makes about 1540 ml


250 g
Semisweet Chocolate (chopped)
60 g
Unsalted butter
4
Egg yolks
Zest from 1 orange
Meringue
4
Egg whites
A dash of
Salt
55 g
Confectioner’ sugar



Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring frequently until smooth. Whisk yolks into chocolate until smooth, then add the orange zest.


Beat the egg whites in a bowl with an electric mixer beat the egg white until soft peak and add the sugar and beat until it just holds stiff peaks. Whisk one third of meringue into chocolate mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining meringue gently but thoroughly.
Spoon mousse into glasses or ramekins and chill, covered, at least 6 hours.

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